Arizona is the home of many retirees with its low costs of living attracting seniors from other U.S. states and Canada. The population of seniors aged between 55 to 59 in Arizona was 5.8%, that of seniors 60 to 64 was 6.3%, and 65 to 74 was 10.8% in 2021. These numbers were expected to grow in the coming years because of the high percentage of the aging baby boomer generation.
Fun fact, the population of seniors in Arizona grows by about 300,000 during the winter months due to the high number of elderly who seek temporary residence in this state during this time.
As seniors age, finding affordable and comfortable housing becomes a top priority. In Arizona, there are several resources available to seniors that can help make housing more affordable and accessible. This is because of the state’s warm desert-like climate that doesn’t pose much health concern to seniors as the winter climate does.
Despite its low costs of living, one of the biggest challenges seniors facing seniors in this state is the rising cost of housing. Being on a fixed or passive income can make it difficult to keep up with rising housing costs.
According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Arizona has a shortage of affordable and available rental homes for low-income households. Only 24 affordable and available rental homes are available for every 100 extremely low-income renters’ households in the state. This shortage of affordable housing has contributed to a rise in homelessness, particularly among seniors and other vulnerable populations.
The average monthly cost of senior living in Arizona ranges from $2,000 to $6,000 depending on the location and services offered. This cost can be higher for communities that offer more specialized care, such as memory care or skilled nursing. In terms of overall housing costs, the average rent for an apartment in Arizona is currently $1,433. This is slightly lower than the national average but still represents a significant burden for many seniors and other low-income households.
The good news is the state of Arizona has programs in place to take care of its ever-growing elderly population considering it, like Florida, is a retirement luxury destination.
Senior Housing Options in Arizona
The population of seniors may be high but there are challenges that they face when it comes to finding the right roof over their heads that fit within their budgets. The housing cost of living is 119.7 in this state, slightly higher than the national average of 100. Some of the housing problems seniors face in Arizona include:
- Scams and frauds: Seniors are the biggest target for scammers who post fake listings on properties that lead to great financial losses and at times homelessness for those who fall prey to these scams.
- Limited availability: The number of affordable housing available for every 100 household renters should tell you that you may have an actual migraine finding a good place to stay that is pocket-friendly in this state.
- Accessibility concerns: More affordable housing is found in the rural areas of Arizona. Although the issue with this is that most of these homes have not been designed to be accessible to seniors with mobility challenges.
- Affordability challenges: Eighty percent of extremely low-income renters’ households are facing a severe cost burden.
So what housing options are available to seniors in Arizona?
Housing Options for Seniors in Arizona
- Independent living communities: These are designed for seniors who can live on their own but want the convenience and socialization of community living. These often offer amenities such as housekeeping, transportation, and recreational activities.
- Assisted living facilities: In addition to housing, the elderly receive assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. They are designed for seniors who need some help with daily tasks but do not require around-the-clock medical care.
- Skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes: This option is suitable for seniors that need 24-hour medical care and assistance with daily activities and those who require more extensive medical care.
- Continuing care retirement communities: If you’re looking for an all-in-one experience, from independent living to skilled nursing care, then this is the perfect match for you. This allows seniors to transition to different levels of care as their needs change over time.
- Mobile and manufactured home parks: These offer mobile homes for seniors. You can get RV resorts that offer RV hookups and various utilities to make your stay comfortable.
The options available to elderly Arizonans include public housing, Section 8 vouchers, and low-income tax credit properties. These options can be a great way for seniors to find housing that is affordable and meets their needs.
State Assistance for Housing
Some seniors can afford their dream homes in Arizona but others may find it challenging to do the same. No need to panic! The state of Arizona has initiatives and programs in place to help improve the accessibility and affordability of housing, especially for low-income earners.
Senior Housing Assistance Program: The Senior Housing Assistance Program (SHAP) is a program that provides rental assistance to low-income seniors who are 62 years of age or older. The program is administered by the Arizona Department of Housing and is designed to help seniors afford safe and decent housing. Seniors who qualify for SHAP may receive a voucher that can be used to pay for a portion of their rent.
Rental Assistance Program- Section 202 Voucher Program: This is a federally funded program available to eligible seniors in the state of Arizona from low and moderate-income households. The program can pay 70% of the rent expenses or in some cases provide low-cost housing for retirees. It is offered to seniors above 62 and comes with additional advantages like meal preparation, case management, transportation, housekeeping, and social services.
DB 101 Arizona-Supplemental Security Income: This program is sponsored by the Social Security Administration and it offers financial assistance to seniors that struggle with household expenses. If you are eligible, you can receive up to $794 in grants to help settle household expenses like rent.
Property Tax Relief: The state allows eligible seniors to defer part of their property taxes payable on the sale of their property or when they do not reside in their home.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program: The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) runs an Emergency Rental Assistance Program available to renters and landlords in different counties in the state. Different cities offer different rental assistance programs so reach out to your city’s Department of Housing for further rental assistance.
Home Repair Grants
HOME Investment Partnership Program: The Arizona Department of Housing funds the HOME Investment Partnership program that offers grants to local organizations and agencies that provide home-related activities including home improvements, home repairs, and rehabilitation.
Single Family Housing Repair Grants: Also known as the Section 504 Home Repair program, is offered to low-income households to modernize homes or provides grants to seniors for home repairs that remove safety and health hazards from their homes. You have to be above 62, own or occupy the home you seek to repair, be unable to get credit elsewhere, and have a household income below your county’s very low limit.
Home Repair Weatherization Assistance Program: The Arizona Home Repair and Weatherization Board offer grants for home repairs and weatherization services for low-income households, including seniors. The program is funded by the Arizona Community Services Block Grant.
Minor Home Repair Program: Lucky for seniors in the City of Phoenix, their Neighborhood Services Department offers the Minor Home Repair Program, which provides grants to eligible homeowners for minor repairs such as plumbing, electrical, and roofing repairs. The program is available to homeowners who are low-income and over the age of 55.
Church or Local Assistance with Housing
Several churches and local organizations offer rental assistance to seniors. For example, St. Vincent de Paul is a Catholic charity that operates throughout Arizona and provides a variety of services to those in need, including rental assistance. Other organizations, such as the United Way and the Salvation Army, may also provide rental assistance to seniors.
Local organizations include:
Arizona Foundation for Aging: Arizona Foundation for Aging (AFA) offers several programs aimed at helping seniors with housing-related expenses. The AFA’s Home Repair and Modification Program provides low-interest loans to seniors for home repairs and modifications. This program helps seniors maintain their homes, reduce safety hazards, and increase accessibility. The AFA also offers a Rent Assistance Loan program, which provides low-interest loans to seniors who are struggling to make rent payments. This program can help seniors avoid eviction and maintain their housing stability.
Pima Council on Aging: The Pima Council on Aging is another local organization that provides housing assistance to seniors in Arizona. The organization offers a variety of programs and services aimed at helping seniors maintain their independence and quality of life. This includes home repair and modification services, as well as rent and utility assistance programs.
Arizona Housing Coalition: This organization works to increase access to affordable housing and promote housing stability for seniors and other vulnerable populations. The coalition offers a variety of programs and services, including rent and utility assistance, housing counseling, and home repair and modification services.
Are there Low-interest Loans for Housing for Seniors in Arizona?
Yes, there are low-interest loans that seniors can apply for to assist with housing expenses. The government offers these loans at lower interest rates compared to other private financial institutions whose interest rates would cost seniors an arm and a leg.
Home Repair Loan Program: This program provides low-interest loans to seniors who need assistance with home repairs, improvements, and modifications. The loans are offered through the Arizona Department of Housing and are available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old or have a disability.
It provides loans of up to $40,000, with repayment terms of up to 20 years. These loans have a fixed interest rate based on the borrower’s income and the amount of the loan. The interest rates for this program range from 0% to 4%, making it an affordable option for seniors who need assistance with home repairs.
Home Plus Program: This program provides low-interest loans to help seniors purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage. The program is open to seniors who meet certain income and credit requirements.
The Home Plus Program offers loans with interest rates that are typically lower than those offered by traditional lenders. The program also offers down payment assistance and other incentives to help seniors purchase a home. This can be a great option for seniors who want to maintain their independence and own their own homes.
Arizona Community Foundation’s Loan Program: The Arizona Community Foundation offers a low-interest loan program to help seniors with home repairs and modifications. The loans have a fixed interest rate of 3% and are available to seniors who meet certain income and credit requirements.
Legal Assistance for Eviction
The state of Arizona offers several resources to seniors who are facing eviction and need legal assistance.
The Arizona Bar Association: This legal association has a referral service that can help seniors find an attorney who can assist them with the eviction process. The referral service can be accessed online or by phone and can help connect seniors with a qualified attorney in their area who specializes in landlord-tenant law.
The Foreclosure Prevention Program: This program is provided by the Arizona Department of Housing to help seniors who are at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure. The program provides counseling services and assistance with negotiating with lenders to avoid foreclosure.
Seniors can also seek legal assistance from nonprofit organizations in Arizona that specialize in helping seniors. The Arizona Center for Disability Law provides free legal services to seniors with disabilities who are facing eviction or other legal issues related to housing. The Arizona Senior Citizens Law Project is another nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to seniors on a variety of issues, including landlord-tenant disputes.
Seniors need to be aware of their legal rights when facing eviction. Under Arizona law, landlords must follow specific procedures when evicting tenants and tenants have certain rights throughout the process. For example, landlords must provide tenants with written notice of the eviction, and tenants have the right to dispute the eviction in court.
Living in Arizona does not sound like the worst idea now that you know there’s some sort of aid you can get to mitigate your housing challenges in this state. If you are confused about where to start, visit the nearest Department of Housing office in your city of interest to get a way forward. The Arizona Department of Economic Security is also a great place to start on all things older adults including housing.